33 Virtual Team Building Activities That Still Feel Personal
When you have a fully remote staff, planning for virtual team building activities can feel like a challenge. But, it’s actually easier than you might think. Modern technology has ensured that online team building activities and remote team games are plentiful, leaving you with nearly endless options to choose from.
Work-from-home can make the individual members of your team more productive. But, it can also get in the way of collaboration and make team members feel isolated. That’s why virtual team building activities are so important, especially in a work-from-home setting. To promote open communication and build trust, planning an afternoon of virtual team building activities can remind everyone why they signed up to be part of the team in the first place.
These virtual team building activities will help your company bond, build trust and communicate more openly and effectively. Plus, every single one of these virtual team events can be done in sweatpants! (Hey, may as well embrace the benefits of being remote!)
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- Virtual Team Building Activities for Foodies
- Virtual Team Building Activities for Culture Buffs
- Virtual Team Building Games
- Virtual Team Building Challenges
- Virtual Team Building Activities for Creativity
- Successful Virtual Team Building Activities
Virtual Team Building Activities for Foodies
Good food puts everyone in a good mood. Food-focused virtual team building activities are a crowd pleaser and are just as easy to accomplish online as in person. To make your whole team feel included, ask ahead of time if anyone has any dietary restrictions. Share those restrictions with your chef or event coordinator, and make sure they can accommodate everyone on the team.
1. Online Cooking Classes
For one of the most delicious and engaging virtual team building activities, online cooking classes give your team instant access to the best chefs around the world. In these classes, your team can interact directly with each other and the chef. They can ask questions, learn new techniques and try a delicious meal of their own making in a highly unique online team building exercise.
Because everyone makes the meal in their home kitchen, they'll use their own ingredients, which they can shop for locally or order online. This gives everyone the freedom to make ingredient swaps, which the chef can help with to accommodate each team members' dietary needs. At the end of the class, everyone can show off their creation.
2. Skills-Based Online Cooking Classes
Another great culinary idea for team building for remote workers is a skills-based cooking class, which focuses on something technical in the kitchen. A knowledgeable chef can teach your team foundational culinary knowledge that leaves them ready for advanced cooking challenges in one of the next virtual team building activities!
Many kitchen skills also translate into the workplace: Online baking classes, for example, can teach your team about careful timing and following intructions to the letter, while online sushi making classes can help your team learn valuable skills around organization, balance and precision.
At the end of your skills class, have everyone show off their work and talk about their key takeaways from the activity.
3. Online Cooking Competitions
For some friendly virtual team building challenges, turn up the heat with online team building activities that have a cooking competition spin! These classes will have your group participating in pasta wars, a sushi showdown or a cupcake challenge, any of which make for some incredibly fun team building activities for remote teams.
Just because everyone is at home in separate kitchens, doesn't mean you have to work alone. Break out into smaller teams where everyone's individual pasta or sushi creation will count toward their team's score. These engaging virtual team building activities encourage team members to cheer on their colleagues and help each other throughout the process.
Since it's a competition, offer a prize for the winners, and have the chef who's hosting your class serve as the judge — you'll have an unbiased, expert opinion.
4. Online Mixology Classes
Online mixology classes are unique virtual team building activities that serve as a hands-on alternative to a traditional happy hour. Your team can learn to make classic cocktails or shake things up with unique craft cocktails that they could only learn from the expert mixologist leading your class. You may even end up with a signature company cocktail!
5. Virtual Wine Tasting
Go from casual drinker to connoisseur with a virtual wine tasting class. In these virtual team building activities, an expert sommelier or chef will lead you through tasting notes, teach you about wine regions and talk about body, acidity and finish. You’ll also get to learn about complementary food pairings that go well with each wine.
Treat your team by sending bottles ahead of time if your state allows for alcohol delivery. If not, have the sommelier provide a list for everyone to purchase. Have the team try each wine together, talk about their impressions and see who would make the best sommelier.
6. Virtual Whiskey Tasting
If sampling fine whiskeys is more on par with your group's interests, a virtual whiskey tasting is a fun virtual team building activity that's sure to be a hit.
In each tasting experience, your team will pair up with industry-renowned scotch stewards eager to share their wisdom about all things whiskey. While you sample whiskey, bourbon and scotch selections from around the world, your guide will give insider insight into the histories, distilling methods and ideal food pairings behind every sip.
7. Online Coffee Classes
Everyone loves kicking their morning off with a cup of joe, so why not incorporate it into a one-of-a-kind virtual team building activity?
Online coffee classes are a coffee lover's dream, offering a deep dive into the world of roasting, brewing and pouring on par with a professional barista. From learning how to use an AeroPress to crafting the perfect homemade espresso, your group will never look at their morning brew the same way again. If you’re looking for unique virtual team building activities for the morning crowd, this is a great way to go.
8. Virtual Recipe Swap
As far as fun activities for remote employees goes, a virtual recipe swap is hard to beat. Have everyone contribute a favorite or family recipe to a shared spreadsheet, then each person can pick (or be randomly assigned) a colleague’s recipe.
The recipes should all be generally beginner-friendly and affordable. Pick a day for everyone to show off their creation over Zoom and they can rate the dish and share what they like most about it. Recipe swaps are great virtual team building activities that encourage everyone to learn a little more about each other’s background, culture and lifestyle. If you're looking for fun group cooking ideas anyone can participate in, this is a great one.
Virtual Team Building Activities for Culture Buffs
You hired the members of your team for their beautiful brains, so look for virtual team building activities that encourage them to think critically, have important discussions and share their knowledge. These ideas will help everyone learn and grow.
9. Virtual Book Club
The point of a book club is discussion, so why not incorporate an office book club into your virtual team building activities? Discussing ideas, themes and stories in a book can encourage your team to form their own opinions and defend the reasoning behind those opinions. Doing so in a low stakes forum like a book club can build trust so your team members will feel confident bringing up ideas on team projects as well.
Choose books that are relevant to the field you work in, books that promote diversity in the workplace (of both people and ideas!) or books that support your corporate culture. You can also establish a just-for-fun book club and have team members nominate and vote on books they want to read.
10. Remote Movie Night
Team building for remote teams can be as simple as a shared movie night! Similar to a book club but with a much lower barrier to entry (it takes a lot less time to watch a movie than it does to read a book), a movie night is most effective if you open the floor to discussion and interpretation afterward. Again, you can choose movies about workplace culture or just have fun watching new releases together as part of your ongoing virtual team building activities.
If you want the whole team to watch simultaneously, host a Netflix Party, which has a built-in chat feature, so you can get the conversation flowing while the movie is still going. Or, you can ask everyone to watch the movie ahead of time and simply host a discussion. Movie nights are great virtual team building activities that are accessible to almost everyone.
11. Virtual Tours
The internet is an amazing place when it comes to finding remote team building activities. In fact, you can even see the world without leaving your living room, which opens up an endless array of fun options for virtual team building activities.
Take your team on a virtual tour of the Natural History Museum, and have everyone take notes on their favorites parts. Afterward, discuss which exhibits appealed to each person and why.
12. Virtual Debate Club
No, debate clubs aren't just for high school students. In fact, debate clubs can be great virtual team building activities to get everyone’s wheels turning and engaging in some friendly back and forth.
Pick a fairly inoffensive topic, like cats vs. dogs, tacos vs. pizza or Coke vs. Pepsi. Everyone can take a turn making their case which side they stand on. Keep things lighthearted and friendly, but encourage everyone to participate and put thought in their answers. Who knows, maybe they’ll even change some minds!
13. Skill Share
Your team members all have unique skills — some that they use at work and some that they use at play. Have each person take turns hosting a skill share class where they teach their coworkers about something they know really well. This is one of the most engaging virtual team building activities that gives others professional and personal insight into everyone’s talents, skills and abilities.
Team members can share work-related skills, like the basics of HTML coding, or fun skills, like how to play chess. If your colleagues are too bashful to say what they're good at, build their confidence by having coworkers nominate them based on their exceptional abilities.
Virtual Team Building Games
When you play a game with your team, you don't have to work as hard to prompt conversation. There's already a task for everyone to focus on. Plus, these virtual team building activities keep everyone engaged and don't feel too much like work.
14. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
A virtual scavenger hunt is one part game, one part getting to know you. Come up with a list of items that everyone will have in their house. Then, send team members running around to find and share each item. This is another great idea for those looking for free virtual team building activities.
For the most fun, make the items on your list open to interpretation (for example, instead of saying "find a ball," say "find something round"), and see how everyone solves the problem in their own way. You can use the alphabet as inspiration and have everyone find one item that starts with each letter from A-Z.
15. Group Video Games
Gaming makes for fun, low-key virtual team building activities. There are lots of video games you can play online that already have built-in social spaces. You can chat with your coworkers, help each other navigate difficult levels and in some games, you can play as a team, competing against others from around the world.
16. Virtual Party Games
If you just want your team members to bond over good fun and good conversation, virtual party games provide a low-pressure conversation starter. They’re easy to find and make simple and straightforward virtual team building activities for any group. Your team can work together to solve a mystery with a virtual version of Clue, help one of their coworkers find the right answer to Heads Up! or make each other laugh with Quiplash.
There are also plenty of games that don't require any downloads or extra technology. Think Mad Libs, 20 Questions or I Spy (encourage people to sit in front of busy backdrops to make that last one work) for some fun virtual team building activities.
This classic game can be adapted into one of the most fun virtual team building activities! Encourages team members to leave their ego at the door. They can let their guard down and act ridiculous — knowing their team members not only accept their silly behavior, but are cheering them on all the way.
Everyone can submit prompts for teammates to act out or download a charades app to have the ideas automatically generated.
18. Two Truths and a Lie
Two truths and a lie is another of those classic games that can easily be translated into virtual team building activities. For this guessing game, each team member shares three facts about themselves — two true facts, and one lie. Everyone else has to guess which is the lie.
This game is simple yet fun and allows for the whole group to learn new and possibly unexpected things about each other.
Ship bingo cards to each of your team members or use one of the many free online bingo-card generators to have team members print their own. Come up with silly prizes and enjoy watching everyone jump up and down in front of their computer screens when they win.
Virtual Team Building Challenges
Virtual team building challenges will keep your team on the edge of their seat as they engage in some friendly competition, problem solving and creative thinking. It's a great way to get everyone thinking outside the box and brainstorming as a team.
20. Guess That Baby
Throw it way back with a guess-that-baby-photo challenge. Each team member submits a photo of themselves as a baby and the group collectively tries to guess who’s who. Photo prompts and challenges can be hilarious virtual team building activities that get everyone laughing while they discuss, problem solve and bond.
21. Virtual Escape Room
Yes, even escape rooms have gone virtual. Sites like The Escape Game put a modern spin on escape rooms to turn them into fun virtual team building activities that really get everyone putting their heads together.
Have your group section off into teams to find clues and connect the dots before time runs out. Much like in your company projects, one person can make a big difference, but ultimately, you'll succeed or fail as a team.
22. Themed Photo Challenge
Another spin on using photos for virtual team building activities, why not have a good old fashioned photo competition? No cameras necessary; a smartphone will do just fine.
Choose a theme like abstract, black and white, nature or pets. Everyone can take their best shot at a winning photo to share in the group Slack channel and discuss their thoughts behind the shot. Keep things simple by instructing the group to only photograph things in their home or yard.
23. Trivia Night
One of the more classic virtual team building activities, you can never go wrong with a trivia night. Come up with some questions ahead of time, then have your coworkers break out into smaller teams.
Each team can create their own Slack chat where they can brainstorm their answers. Have a prize for the winning team, and groups will have to put their heads together if they want to take home the glory (and the goodies!).
24. Choreography Challenge
Working from home can involve a lot of sitting in front of a desk. Inspire your team to get up and shake it off with virtual team building activities that get them moving. For a choreography challenge, choose a music video with famously good dancing — like Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" or *NSYNC's "Bye Bye Bye" — and see if your team members can recreate it.
Have each person film their attempt. Then, edit everyone's videos together with the original music video and debut it at your next team meeting. Hilarious virtual team building activities like this will help team members see their colleagues as less serious and more relatable.
Virtual Team Building Activities for Creativity
Creative team building activities aren't just for teams in creative fields. Nearly every position benefits from creative problem-solving skills, and if you want to get your team's wheels turning, you need to engage the creative side of their brains. Here are some ideas that can help.
25. Virtual Painting Parties
Many of the same studios that offer in-person wine and paint nights will recreate the experience online for some unique virtual team building activities. You'll start by shipping painting kits to all your team members. Then, everyone will follow along with an online instructor as they teach you how to recreate a masterpiece. At the end of the class, everyone can show off their work of art.
26. Improv Classes
From local theater troops to Second City — the famous improv troop whose alumni include Amy Poehler and Tina Fey — plenty of venues offer online improv classes that make for fun virtual team building activities. Improv can teach your team to think on their feet, listen to their coworkers, say "yes, and..." and build upon each other's ideas.
27. Play-Doh Sculptures
Who needs Pictionary when there's Play-Doh? For this activity, ship a few different colors of Play-Doh to each of your team member's houses. Then, have them turn Pictionary-style prompts into beautiful little sculptures while their colleagues try to guess what they're making. You can find prompts using an online generator or ask your team to submit ideas.
28. Costume Party
Costumes aren't just for Halloween, and if you’re looking for some out-of-the-box virtual team building activities, a costume party is a great choice. Host a virtual happy hour where everyone shows up dressed to the nines in their favorite costume or encourage people to dress around a theme, like superheroes, the 80s or Old Hollywood stars.
During the happy hour, have people explain why they chose their costume or take turns guessing what everyone is if there are a few head-scratchers in the group.
29. Guided Meditation
Sometimes, what a hard-working team really needs is a moment of zen. This is where guided meditation comes in, making this one of the most unique yet refreshing virtual team building activities for your group.
You can find apps and online services that offer guided meditations for corporate groups, all done in a virtual setting. This is a great way for everyone to de-stress, take a deep breath and get ready to face a new day.
30. Talent Show
Everyone in your company has secret hobbies and hidden talents. Get to know your coworkers for who they are outside of work by hosting a talent show. Just like in your middle school days, everyone will choose one ability and perform it in front of the cameras (only this time, it will be Zoom cameras instead of your mom's camcorder). Get ready to discover the secret magician on your team.
31. Weekly Writing Prompt
For some truly creative virtual team building activities, why not introduce a weekly writing prompt? These can be fun prompts — like “you just learned your neighbor is a vampire” — or they can be more mindful, such as writing about things you’re grateful for or hoping to achieve.
Drop the prompt into the group chat or Slack channel and give everyone a day or two to come up with a few short paragraphs or sentences. Then, everyone can take turns sharing their mini-story with the group.
32. Personality Types Quiz
Take a deep dive into learning more about each other with a personality quiz! These make for interesting virtual team building activities that offer everyone personal insight into their own lives as well as those of their colleagues. They can take a quiz through Myers-Briggs, 16Personalities or any other of many sites that offer personality assessments.
33. Home Office Tour
Another unique idea for free virtual team building activities is to have each team member take a turn giving a virtual office or home tour. No need for anything extravagant — it can be as simple as showing off your workspace, a useful planner or sharing your favorite piece of office decor.
Successful Virtual Team Building Activities
Creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and communication can be more challenging with a remote team. Even if your team is active on Slack channels and chatty in Zoom meetings, it can be harder to get to know each other. But, with the right virtual team building activities, team members can get acquainted, learn how their colleagues communicate and develop a stronger personal connection with the team.
Virtual team bonding activities can be anything. Whether you choose to heat things up with an online cooking class, turn over a new leaf with a book club or shake off your stress with a choreography challenge, these virtual team building activities will get your whole team talking. Choose one that fits the personalities in your department or exemplifies your company's core values. Make the activity feel more like fun than work, and you’ll find your team looking forward to more fun virtual team building activities in the future.
What are some virtual team building activities?
Virtual team building activities can be just about anything these days. Plan a virtual book club, scavenger hunt, online cooking or mixology class, or pick a few virtual team games and make a whole afternoon out of it. There’s no shortage of fun virtual activities to choose from!
How do you make a virtual meeting fun?
You can make a virtual meeting fun by incorporating some easy virtual team building activities for conference calls. This can be something short and sweet at the end of the meeting rather than a dedicated remote team building session. For example, everyone can take turns participating in a simple Zoom team building activitiy like giving a virtual tour of their office or workspace, showing off their pets or sharing their favorite movie.
How do you build a team while working remotely?
Building a team while working remotely isn’t as difficult as it may sound. The key to success is to encourage communication, collaboration and inclusion. Plan a weekly or bi-weekly meeting that includes everyone, so every team member gets a chance to “meet” and understand each other’s roles.
Like any other office job, make sure you stay organized, too. You’ll likely be working in an entirely digital format, so be sure that emails, calendars, cloud files, photos and tools are organized well and accessible for everyone.
Finally, making time for team bonding activities is crucial, especially for remote teams. Team bonding is vital to making sure the company runs like a well-oiled machine, whether it has a physical location or is entirely virtual.
How do you engage with a virtual team?
You can engage with a virtual team by staying involved, offering new opportunities, encouraging communication and ensuring everyone feels like an important part of the team. Planning some fun virtual team building activities from time to time will ensure everyone has the chance to bond and work together.
How can you build team morale remotely?
You can build team morale remotely by making sure your staff knows how much you appreciate them. If someone did a really great job on a particular project, shouting them out in a meeting or even sending them a small token of appreciation goes a long way in building rapport. Including some virtual team building activities at least a few times per year also helps build team morale remotely.
How do you throw a virtual celebration?
You can throw a virtual celebration over any remote conferencing program like Zoom, FaceTime, Skype or Google Meet. Most programs offer free video conferencing for groups of a certain size. This makes it easy to get together for a celebration or some virtual team building activities.
To plan your virtual celebration, first come up with some experiences the group can do together. This can be a virtual happy hour, cooking class, game night or even a dinner together. You may want to also plan some online games for teams or virtual group activities everyone can participate in.
What are some of the most effective virtual team building games?
The most effective virtual team building games encourage everyone to participate, work together and most importantly, have fun. Virtual escape rooms or scavenger hunts are especially unique virtual team building activities that get everyone engaged with some friendly competition. The best part? Everyone can play from the comfort of their own home!
What are the benefits of virtual team building activities?
Remote team building activities help strengthen the professional and personal bonds of everyone on your team. As teams play games or challenge each other, they learn the valuable cooperation, time management, communication and problem-solving skills that will make them happier, more productive staff. Plus, virtual team building activities will help them grow their personal relationships as well as their professional ones.
What are some fun team building challenges?
Some fun team building challenges include a virtual talent show, escape room, cooking competition or choreography challenge. You can also play some fun online team building games like charades, trivia or bingo.
For even more inspiration for fun virtual team building activities or in-person team building activities, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.